By: Felix Felicis (Three Beers) –
Everybody has this one friend in their lives that they love… But wouldn’t trust with their Hulu password or even their potted plant. Melissa McCarthy is that movie friend for me. I’m always excited to see her name pop up on the cast list for something or hear that she’s involved with a project. On the flip side, anytime she’s listed as collaborating with her husband I can literally feel the area in my brain responsible for expectations gird its loins. And lock the door to its home. And turn off all the lights… Luckily we don’t have another Tammy on our hands here, but let me just tell you up front we also don’t have ourselves another Spy. What we got in our lunchbox was a middle-of-the-road, slightly confused comedy starring a turtleneck sweater… Cameo by Melissa McCarthy.
The Boss follows Melissa McCarthy as her Groundlings character, Michelle Darnell, comes to life (Darnell is your typical wheeling and dealing Fortune 500 douche before, you guessed it, she’s sent to prison Martha-Stewart-style). After a stint in a prison nicer than most hotels I’ve been to, Darnell reemerges ready to kick ass and take names only to find out that no one’s on hand to lend her a pen, or a job, or even a couch to crash on, leaving this former tycoon knocking on her doormat-slash-ex-assistant’s (Kristen Bell’s ‘Claire Rawlins’) apartment buzzer. Latching onto a business scheme after discovering the delights of Doritos, Darnell takes Claire and her daughter Rachel on a pretty violence-fueled journey through her new business model of pre-teen brownie sales all the while fending off scheming corporate takeover advances (or foreplay, I honestly can’t tell) from former flame and mogul-rival Renault.
Credit where credit’s due, I did laugh a lot… But damned if I can remember why. McCarthy carries The Boss on the strength of my leftover goodwill toward Spy and her talented physical comedy alongside a stellar, if under- and mis-used ensemble cast (kudos, though, to the baller intro featuring kickass flair topped off with T-Pain). The dialogue in The Boss is largely filled with idiotic clunkers and garishly slapstick shockers meant to shock on shock value alone. I submit for your consideration the ten minute (and later running gag) conversation about dick-sucking their way past a guard station checkpoint… HOWEVER, I laughed my ass off in the moment even as I was rolling my eyes at the sheer stupidity. Such is the talent of Melissa McCarthy and Co.
I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again, Peter Dinklage is a national treasure. His over-the-top obsessive and obsessed villain is a treat to behold and he sells us and sell us hard on that role even when in the clutches of the dreaded man bun they make his character sport at one point. Dinklage and McCarthy and (the largely irrelevant to the plot but always fabulous) Kathy Bates are having a blast with this ridiculous material and, as a consequence, so are we. Much like a cult or Crossfit, The Boss is lacing the kool-aide and I’m (inexplicably) buying.
Some jokes passed hilariously dumb and right into Did We Really Need That? Town, Population: Show-And-Tell Joke About Melissa McCarthy’s Spray Tanned Labia. The humor and/or plot points in The Boss often surpassed even my legendary tolerance for the obscure or the obscene and (even in the cinematic world of suspended disbelief which we all accept and operate in -street brawls with cookie selling minors where it’s cool for adults to throat-punch children, weird corporate katana fights, and high-rise heists ending in cold-blooded attempted murder followed by making it to first base) took me out of the absurd action for a solid above-and-beyond WTF moment or two.
The plot, the plot, my kingdom for a plot! Or, at the very least, a razor scooter for a film that didn’t suffer from wild schizophrenia and yet oddly predictable ploys. The Boss practically jackhammers home the importance of family, not to mention beats the dead orphan horse that was Melissa McCarthy and her emotionally unavailable Oliver Twist schtick. And that’s not even taking into account the dropped plot thread of a Girl Scout-y girl power empire builder flick in favor of an incoherent third act gear change to what I could only assume was a Hangover and Oceans Eleven movie high-rise heist mashup.
The Boss doesn’t do anything new or fresh for the comedy genre and limps across the finish line riding Melissa McCarthy’s coattails for a soon-to-be-forgettable rental flick. But as the best thing in theaters right now I can only recommend that you give this bitch a matinee watch or wait for it to Netflix and Chill.
The Boss Drinking Game
Take a Sip: for each turtleneck, big ass bow and wig (pace yourself).
Take a Drink: whenever you spot a celebrity cameo. Take Two: if you can spot McCarthy’s real-life daughter as one of her adoption returns in an easter egg role.
Take a Shot: for every Predator face, pyrotechnic, and man bun.
Shotgun Your Beer and Pour a Little Out: for the death of Spaghetti.
Last Call: stick around for some mid-credits fun before heading home and high-fiving your liquor cabinet.